I have been spending rather a lot of time reading fat blogs. Fat acceptance blogs, fat fashion blogs, fat positive blogs and even the odd blog written by not accepting fat people. Most if not all are by women and all are thought provoking.
They make me challenge the assumptions I make about others and about myself. They also cause me to challenge some stereotypes that I hold about other fat people, although I'm fat myself. They are also leading me to engage with research and data about obesity that I haven't seen before. I suppose I had just assumed that the news stories about the 'Obesity Epidemic' were for the most part true, but just overegged slightly for shock value.
I've also been pleased to find that my gut instinct may be correct: that living fat may be better for you than repeat dieting. The research is still not comprehensive but some studies have been compelling in terms of insulin resistence. Have a look at this paper for some interesting research and findings.
But I'm not sure I am fully on board with some of the tenets of fat acceptance. I accept that I am fat and that it doesn't make me a bad person. I'm not willing though to claim that my fatness is due to factors outside my control or responsibility. There seems to be some within the FA movement that strongly believe that being fat is largely due to reasons other than what we eat or do. I am willing to believe that weight is determined in some part by genetic traits, but not solely. I think learnt eating behaviours have a strong impact. So does using food as an emotional crutch. But so does a love of food. YUMMMM FOOD
I suppose what I'm saying is that I am willing to embrace that idea that I am fat because of my actions and THAT'S OK. I'm not seeking absolution.
I also think that if you are fat accepting then you should be willing to engage with health professionals about your weight and consider their opinions objectively. My weight is not a scary number that I attempt to hide from myself or other people. I don't need scales that say gorgeous instead of a number. I don't want a measuring tape that tells me that I'm great rather than my waist size. I need to know my waist size otherwise how am I going to buy trousers that fit?
To be fat accepting also means being able to look at photos of yourself without cringing and feeling shame. I've done that alot in the past. Now I try to look at myself and think yup, I'm fat ....and? This is almost the hardest bit really. So often it is easier to deal with your weight and size theorically. In my head I have always been smaller than I really am and the reality can be a shock. But I don't think that you can truly be ok with yourself if you are not willing to reality embrace your body's true shape. One of the most inspiring thing about fat fashion blogs is seeing other fat women who are my shape and size and proudly showing photos of themselves. It's brilliant. Completely and utterly brilliant.
To be fat accepting means talking about the realities of being fat with non fat people and treating these realities as a valid and normal way of life. If you buy your clothes from Evans then say it. Don't think that if you don't mention that you have to buy from plus sized stores then friends and work colleagues won't notice that you don't fit into Topshop.
Not mentioning you're fat doesn't mean that they won't notice (took me a while to realise that one - kept hoping if I didn't talk about it people wouldn't see the size of my arse). If you are afraid the chair won't hold your weight then ask for a better chair or sit somewhere else. I once totalled a deck chair. Was it my weight? Maybe not but I have never forgotten it and now have a fear of folding chairs. Luckily I found one that takes up to 150 kgs. Woohoo!
Well endless and senseless rant over. Comments please!
PS I don't actually know any fat people in 'real life' so don't get to talk about these things. Well, one of my neighbours is but I made a negative comment about dieting (to sound her out a little) and she didn't say anything. I may have freaked her out.